First Bank

First Bank gains 35% higher application performance and saves $1 million annually with the Aruba EdgeConnect SD-WAN edge platform

  • 客户背景信息

    Established in 1910, family-owned First Bank is a full-service bank offering deposit and loan accounts, mortgage services, and wealth management for residential and business customers through 105 branch locations across Missouri, Illinois, Kansas, Nebraska, and California.
    • Vertical: Financial Services
    • Location: St. Louis, Missouri, United States
    • Customer size: Approximately 900 employees across 105 branches in the U.S.

    Use Case

    Address high cost and bandwidth limitations of MPLS while ensuring quality of service for critical voice system and cloud-based business applications.

    Requirements

    • Fail over circuits without dropping voice calls
    • Deliver high application performance over broadband
    • Simplify network management and troubleshooting

    Outcomes

    • Increased available bandwidth nearly 67X—from 3 Mbps to 200 Mbps
    • Achieved data compression with Boost of 98 percent for backups; up to 80 percent for other applications
    • Improved application performance by 35 percent on average
    • Projected $1 million annual savings over previous MPLS network with 30-40 percent ROI over five years
    • Reduced branch deployment time from 90 days to a couple weeks

    To meet high customer expectations, St. Louis-based First Bank has fully embraced digitalization, building a hybrid cloud IT infrastructure to run everything from its core banking platform and voice system to mortgage applications and productivity solutions like Microsoft Office 365. Naturally, the bank’s wide-area network (WAN) plays a pivotal role in connecting users to these critical applications.

    As First Bank grew, the amount of data traversing the WAN outpaced available bandwidth and dragged down performance. Marc Ashworth, First Bank’s Chief Information Security Officer, explains, “We had a pretty traditional MPLS network with mostly T1 lines. Trying to push through a couple hundred megabytes of data just drowned our circuits.”

    EdgeConnect Passes the Quality and Reliability Test

    First Bank evaluated SD-WAN as a potential solution to the bandwidth problem but none of the vendors could meet a key requirement: failing over circuits without dropping a voice call. So, Ashworth consulted local IT service provider, Secure Data, who told him about Silver Peak (acquired by Aruba, a Hewlett Packard Enterprise company).

    After thoroughly testing the Aruba EdgeConnect SD-WAN edge platform, Ashworth concluded, “EdgeConnect was the first product we came across that truly did what it was supposed to do. We had our voice system running across two circuits, unplugged one, and we didn’t drop the call.”

    Network Flexibility With Consistent Security

    Following the successful test, Ashworth and his team deployed EdgeConnect appliances across all of the bank’s 105 branches, dozens of ATM locations, several home offices, and even in the data center of its cloud-based voice provider. Most sites are linked by bonded DSL and broadband circuits, or a pair of broadband circuits with LTE for backup—MPLS is completely gone.

    The EdgeConnect platform also enabled First Bank to retire its conventional branch routers and leverage the built-in stateful zone-based firewall to enable adaptive breakout to trusted SaaS and cloud applications, as well as provide secure guest Wi-Fi access at the branches. Ashworth points out, “Local breakout at each branch improves overall application performance and provides a better quality of experience for our employees.”

    Ashworth also foresees extending the SD-WAN with a secure access service edge (SASE) to ensure consistent security for the bank’s growing number of remote staff. “With remote users being such a big component of our environment today, leveraging SASE with the EdgeConnect platform will provide a faster, more efficient way for them to securely access assets across our network and in the cloud.”

    Accelerates opening new branch locations

    Ashworth notes, “We consolidated quite a bit of legacy infrastructure at the branch as we rolled out the EdgeConnect appliances. But when it came to the EdgeConnect deployment itself, that only took about 15 minutes per site. We’d just plug it in, centrally apply the business intent overlay, and we were done.”

    Ashworth adds that the ease of deploying EdgeConnect will help First Bank accelerate branch openings as it continues to expand. “It depends on the availability of circuits, but typically our lead time for bringing a new branch online has gone from about 90 days to a couple weeks since having the SD-WAN.”

    Boosts Application Performance and Network Uptime

    The EdgeConnect SD-WAN edge platform has brought a whole new level of application performance and network uptime to First Bank. Available bandwidth has soared from 3 Mbps to as much as 200 Mbps at many sites. Ashworth quips that for First Bank employees “it’s so much bandwidth they don’t know what to do with it all.”

    Greater bandwidth alone has increased application performance dramatically. In addition, First Bank implemented optional Aruba Boost WAN optimization to accelerate performance for things like HTTP traffic, file sharing, and branch backups.

    Ashworth reports that for backups in particular, Boost is achieving up to 98 percent compression, and for other applications 70–80 percent compression. This translates to 35 percent higher application performance on average.

    Assured WAN uptime helps serve customers better

    Ashworth advises that one of the biggest benefits of the Aruba SD-WAN solution has been improved WAN availability, especially for branches where basic circuit quality is not very reliable.

    “We’ve had some branches that lost both their main circuits and still kept running because they failed over to the LTE backup,” he says. “The people in the branch didn’t even know there was a problem. Maintaining that uptime is essential for our people to do their jobs and serve our clients with the best quality of experience possible.”

    Powerful ROI With Savings in Time and Money

    Consolidating on EdgeConnect has greatly simplified the WAN edge, saving time and money. Ashworth points out that from an administration standpoint, IT saves a lot of time because there’s no need to worry about additional configurations, updates, or maintenance of separate branch routers and firewalls. Moreover, by centrally managing the SD-WAN with the Aruba Orchestrator management console, everything from new deployments to firmware updates and network monitoring is easier.

    “Overall monitoring and administration is so much easier now than with a traditional router-centric model,” Ashworth remarks. “The insights we get through Orchestrator have been really valuable for troubleshooting system or voice issues. It’s definitely freed up time for my team to focus on optimizing each branch instead of maintaining equipment.”

    With less edge equipment to own and upgrade, combined with a revamped voice system, Ashworth estimates a 30–40 percent return on investment over five years. Even more dramatic, he notes, “We’ll be saving over $1 million per year compared to our previous MPLS network.”

    Building Ongoing Value From EdgeConnect

    Ashworth is continually exploring additional ways to benefit from EdgeConnect. For example, using physical and virtual EdgeConnect appliances, he and his team enabled certain branches to act as regional data center hubs to reduce application traffic heading to SaaS and cloud applications, as well as easing backup traffic being backhauled to the primary data center.

    These new capabilities have greatly improved the bank’s disaster recovery (DR) testing. Ashworth and his team simply use adaptive breakout to point branches to the nearest data center based on geographical location. “We reduced our DR testing time by about 70 percent because of how many applications we can now run in both data centers at the same time,” Ashworth notes. “This is possible by connecting sites to the data center with the lowest latency and then failing over to the other data center if needed.”

    Ashworth concludes, “The EdgeConnect SD-WAN edge platform is enabling us to do many things that simply weren’t possible before. The ability to have a physical EdgeConnect appliance on prem or virtual in the cloud give us flexibility to expand the network very efficiently.”

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    The EdgeConnect SD-WAN edge platform is enabling us to do many things that simply weren’t possible before. We’ll be saving over $1 million per year compared to our previous MPLS network.
    Marc Ashworth, Chief Information Security Officer, First Bank
  • 客户背景信息

    Established in 1910, family-owned First Bank is a full-service bank offering deposit and loan accounts, mortgage services, and wealth management for residential and business customers through 105 branch locations across Missouri, Illinois, Kansas, Nebraska, and California.
    • Vertical: Financial Services
    • Location: St. Louis, Missouri, United States
    • Customer size: Approximately 900 employees across 105 branches in the U.S.

    Use Case

    Address high cost and bandwidth limitations of MPLS while ensuring quality of service for critical voice system and cloud-based business applications.

    Requirements

    • Fail over circuits without dropping voice calls
    • Deliver high application performance over broadband
    • Simplify network management and troubleshooting

    Outcomes

    • Increased available bandwidth nearly 67X—from 3 Mbps to 200 Mbps
    • Achieved data compression with Boost of 98 percent for backups; up to 80 percent for other applications
    • Improved application performance by 35 percent on average
    • Projected $1 million annual savings over previous MPLS network with 30-40 percent ROI over five years
    • Reduced branch deployment time from 90 days to a couple weeks

    To meet high customer expectations, St. Louis-based First Bank has fully embraced digitalization, building a hybrid cloud IT infrastructure to run everything from its core banking platform and voice system to mortgage applications and productivity solutions like Microsoft Office 365. Naturally, the bank’s wide-area network (WAN) plays a pivotal role in connecting users to these critical applications.

    As First Bank grew, the amount of data traversing the WAN outpaced available bandwidth and dragged down performance. Marc Ashworth, First Bank’s Chief Information Security Officer, explains, “We had a pretty traditional MPLS network with mostly T1 lines. Trying to push through a couple hundred megabytes of data just drowned our circuits.”

    EdgeConnect Passes the Quality and Reliability Test

    First Bank evaluated SD-WAN as a potential solution to the bandwidth problem but none of the vendors could meet a key requirement: failing over circuits without dropping a voice call. So, Ashworth consulted local IT service provider, Secure Data, who told him about Silver Peak (acquired by Aruba, a Hewlett Packard Enterprise company).

    After thoroughly testing the Aruba EdgeConnect SD-WAN edge platform, Ashworth concluded, “EdgeConnect was the first product we came across that truly did what it was supposed to do. We had our voice system running across two circuits, unplugged one, and we didn’t drop the call.”

    Network Flexibility With Consistent Security

    Following the successful test, Ashworth and his team deployed EdgeConnect appliances across all of the bank’s 105 branches, dozens of ATM locations, several home offices, and even in the data center of its cloud-based voice provider. Most sites are linked by bonded DSL and broadband circuits, or a pair of broadband circuits with LTE for backup—MPLS is completely gone.

    The EdgeConnect platform also enabled First Bank to retire its conventional branch routers and leverage the built-in stateful zone-based firewall to enable adaptive breakout to trusted SaaS and cloud applications, as well as provide secure guest Wi-Fi access at the branches. Ashworth points out, “Local breakout at each branch improves overall application performance and provides a better quality of experience for our employees.”

    Ashworth also foresees extending the SD-WAN with a secure access service edge (SASE) to ensure consistent security for the bank’s growing number of remote staff. “With remote users being such a big component of our environment today, leveraging SASE with the EdgeConnect platform will provide a faster, more efficient way for them to securely access assets across our network and in the cloud.”

    Accelerates opening new branch locations

    Ashworth notes, “We consolidated quite a bit of legacy infrastructure at the branch as we rolled out the EdgeConnect appliances. But when it came to the EdgeConnect deployment itself, that only took about 15 minutes per site. We’d just plug it in, centrally apply the business intent overlay, and we were done.”

    Ashworth adds that the ease of deploying EdgeConnect will help First Bank accelerate branch openings as it continues to expand. “It depends on the availability of circuits, but typically our lead time for bringing a new branch online has gone from about 90 days to a couple weeks since having the SD-WAN.”

    Boosts Application Performance and Network Uptime

    The EdgeConnect SD-WAN edge platform has brought a whole new level of application performance and network uptime to First Bank. Available bandwidth has soared from 3 Mbps to as much as 200 Mbps at many sites. Ashworth quips that for First Bank employees “it’s so much bandwidth they don’t know what to do with it all.”

    Greater bandwidth alone has increased application performance dramatically. In addition, First Bank implemented optional Aruba Boost WAN optimization to accelerate performance for things like HTTP traffic, file sharing, and branch backups.

    Ashworth reports that for backups in particular, Boost is achieving up to 98 percent compression, and for other applications 70–80 percent compression. This translates to 35 percent higher application performance on average.

    Assured WAN uptime helps serve customers better

    Ashworth advises that one of the biggest benefits of the Aruba SD-WAN solution has been improved WAN availability, especially for branches where basic circuit quality is not very reliable.

    “We’ve had some branches that lost both their main circuits and still kept running because they failed over to the LTE backup,” he says. “The people in the branch didn’t even know there was a problem. Maintaining that uptime is essential for our people to do their jobs and serve our clients with the best quality of experience possible.”

    Powerful ROI With Savings in Time and Money

    Consolidating on EdgeConnect has greatly simplified the WAN edge, saving time and money. Ashworth points out that from an administration standpoint, IT saves a lot of time because there’s no need to worry about additional configurations, updates, or maintenance of separate branch routers and firewalls. Moreover, by centrally managing the SD-WAN with the Aruba Orchestrator management console, everything from new deployments to firmware updates and network monitoring is easier.

    “Overall monitoring and administration is so much easier now than with a traditional router-centric model,” Ashworth remarks. “The insights we get through Orchestrator have been really valuable for troubleshooting system or voice issues. It’s definitely freed up time for my team to focus on optimizing each branch instead of maintaining equipment.”

    With less edge equipment to own and upgrade, combined with a revamped voice system, Ashworth estimates a 30–40 percent return on investment over five years. Even more dramatic, he notes, “We’ll be saving over $1 million per year compared to our previous MPLS network.”

    Building Ongoing Value From EdgeConnect

    Ashworth is continually exploring additional ways to benefit from EdgeConnect. For example, using physical and virtual EdgeConnect appliances, he and his team enabled certain branches to act as regional data center hubs to reduce application traffic heading to SaaS and cloud applications, as well as easing backup traffic being backhauled to the primary data center.

    These new capabilities have greatly improved the bank’s disaster recovery (DR) testing. Ashworth and his team simply use adaptive breakout to point branches to the nearest data center based on geographical location. “We reduced our DR testing time by about 70 percent because of how many applications we can now run in both data centers at the same time,” Ashworth notes. “This is possible by connecting sites to the data center with the lowest latency and then failing over to the other data center if needed.”

    Ashworth concludes, “The EdgeConnect SD-WAN edge platform is enabling us to do many things that simply weren’t possible before. The ability to have a physical EdgeConnect appliance on prem or virtual in the cloud give us flexibility to expand the network very efficiently.”

    The EdgeConnect SD-WAN edge platform is enabling us to do many things that simply weren’t possible before. We’ll be saving over $1 million per year compared to our previous MPLS network.
    Marc Ashworth, Chief Information Security Officer, First Bank